Healthy Choices

3 Oct

We”ll just skip the “where have you been” and the “why haven’t you been posting” and other such whining and just acknowledge that sometimes I don’t feel like writing.  After my determination to write one post a day for a month, which I thought would kick start me into a better habit, I realized that being forced into writing only produces sloppy and boring work.  Besides, I write this blog to remember events, and update a few followers, and give an outlet to my creativity.  So, this is the last time I will mention a gap between posts.  Let’s continue…

Last night we were invited to a house-warming party at some friends’ house.  By the time I got all the details, and looked through my cupboards, the only thing I could think of to bring was a chocolate zucchini cake.*

While we were there, someone commented on the cake, and how moist it was etc.   And I replied that it was the zucchini that made it so moist.  He looked at me a little funny, and replied that he didn’t even realize that there was zucchini in there.  And then he asked me if I did it as a way to sneak in vegetables into my kids’ diet.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I have no qualms about sneaking veggies or anything else into other foods, but I also don’t shy away from just, you know, giving them those foods too.  Kids will never learn that they like a certain food, if they only eat it unknowingly.

I like to drink smoothies, and lately I have been throwing a handful of spinach in with the other fruits.  Bronwyn looked at hers one day and asked me, very suspiciously, if there was SPINACH in her smoothie.  I mustered up all my courage, and boldly declared that there was.  She looked thoughtful for a minute, then announced, “I think you have found a way I like spinach”.

So, if I am not throwing random vegetables into sugary treats because I can’t get my kids to eat them otherwise, then why bother?

I just find that adding extra ingredients doesn’t alter the taste or texture (negatively anyway) and adds extra fiber, nutrients, and variety that would be missing otherwise.  So, I guess my question is, why wouldn’t you add vegetables to your baked goods?

Here are my favourite ways to “sneak” veggies into foods:

Add pureed pumpkin, beets, squash, avocado, apples, mangoes etc to a boxed cake mix.  Half the other ingredients.  Bake as directed.  I would advise using chocolate for most of those as it disguises the colour and flavour perfectly.

You can substitute plain unsweetened applesauce for cooking oil in baking.

Automatically use half the amount of sugar called for in a recipe.  I bet you won’t even notice.

Use spelt flour instead of all purpose.  Except for a slightly nutty flavour, you will not notice.

Go ahead.  Give it a try.  And let me know how it goes!

* Chocolate Zucchini Cake

1/2 C butter, softened (or marg)
1 3/4 C sugar
2 eggs
1/2 C cooking oil (feel free to sub equal parts applesauce instead)
1/2 C sour milk (or 1 T vinegar plus milk to equal 1/2 C)
1 t vanilla
2 C grated zucchini with peel (but not seeds)
2 1/2 C flour (I used spelt)
1/3 C cocoa pwd
1 t baking soda
1/2 t baking pwd
1/2 t cinnamon (do not omit!)
1/2 t salt

3/4 C semi-sweet chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs. Mix in oil, sour milk, vanilla and zucchini.

Mix dry ingredients (not choc chips). Add to wet. Stir to moisten. Spread in a greased 9×13 pan

Sprinkle with chocolate chips. Bake at 350 for 35 min or until done.



One Response to “Healthy Choices”

  1. andrea October 3, 2011 at 6:05 pm #

    i totally agree. I don’t know if i just lucked out that my kids LOVE veggies or what but for some weird reason rachel’s favourites are spinach and lima beans lol. I love spelt flour, has a nice flavour however i don’t use it a whole lot because it doesn’t quite cook like wheat…i wish it did but well i guess there’s a reason why wheat is used so widely! My cookies come out with a different texture (i enjoy the taste). I tried making pancakes with it once(also without eggs)….total disaster! Maybe i should try half and half…especially since i still have some in the cupboard.

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